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Do You Often Act Before You Think?

It is far too common for people in today’s society to speak or act before they’ve thought through the likely consequences. Everything we say or do has consequences, though they can be good, bad, or so minor that it doesn’t make much of a difference. Unfortunately, many people act without thought and the consequences can be terrible. Here is an illustration of what I mean.

In my youth, around the age of 8, there weren’t many kids in our community. In fact, at most, there were 23 and they were of varying ages. This means that the boys and girls we had to play with who were our own age were considerably fewer than this.

There were about 6 of us at the time of this event who were roughly the same age. Unlike kids of today, most often, we were expected to go outside and play if the weather was decent. Often, that play involved some kind of competition.

So it was that the group of us decided to have a race up the hill. We took off and my best friend, John, was in the lead. I was a half-step behind, with an older friend, Bill, a full step behind me. I was trying hard to overtake John, though I really wasn’t gaining much ground.

John jumped a log and landed as I jumped. The moment he landed, he yelled, “Bees!” There wasn’t a great deal that I could do since I was in the air and doing my best cartoon impression of back-peddling didn’t do a lot except make me look like an idiot.

When I landed, my heel sunk into the entrance to a yellow jacket nest, and the wasps were already upset because John had previously landed near the nest. I got seven stings in the area of a quarter, on the back of my heel. However, yellow jackets were boiling out of the nest like crazy and I instinctively, and with a bit of thought, simply let my momentum carry me forward a few feet, where I froze in place, doing my best to look like a statue. I knew from experience that angry wasps are drawn to movement. My actions prevented me from getting more than a few more stings.

Most of the other kids veered off, with a couple of them turning and racing back home to get help. For whatever reason, Bill didn’t stop coming. He lept the log and landed with a foot on either side of the nest entrance. Bill then proceeded to do what many people do if they are afraid of bees and wasps and there is one flying around; he started waving his arms and stomping his feet.

It is nearly certain that if it had been a solitary wasp, he would have been stung. Only, it wasn’t one wasp, it was hundreds of them.

By the time help arrived and Bill was taken to safety, the resuing mothers getting stung in the process, Bill had been stung 308 times, all over his arms, legs, face, and body. Bill was immediately rushed by ambulance (we did have an ambulance, even at Crater Lake) the 63 miles to the nearest hospital. Even driving 80 miles an hour on the road that was unsafe to drive at over 60, Bill almost died and it was touch-and-go for a time.

All of that was because Bill acted without thinking about the consequences. He knew as well as any of us that the wasps would attack movement, yet he flailed around in a panic. Had he thought rather than simply reacting, he probably would have had no more stings than I got. It is somewhat excusable in that Bill was about 9 at the time. I still sometimes hear from him, though this event isn’t one that we talk about. The issue is that many adults, speak and react without thought and there is no excuse.

  • How often do you speak or react before thinking about the probable consequences?

    • Yes
    • No
    • sometimes
  • How often do you speak or react before thinking about the probable consequences?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

12 points

Written by Rex Trulove

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